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Estimating the R 0 of SARS-CoV-2 in Different Health Systems: An Update on Transmissibility at the Country Level

21 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2020

See all articles by Amanda Makha Bifani

Amanda Makha Bifani

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases

Eng Eong Ooi

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme

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Abstract

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 is a respiratory illness caused by the newly emerged SARS-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Starting with an epidemic of viral pneumonia in the Hubei province, China in December 2019, SARS-CoV-2 has since become a pandemic, causing over 250,000 cases in over 170 countries. The response to SARS-CoV-2 has been radically dissimilar in various countries. Determining the control measures that are effective in curbing SARS-CoV-2 spread is thus critical to guide public health policies.

Methods: A number of countries were selected based on an exclusion criterion. The basic reproductive number (R0) was calculated from the incidence from different countries over a 20-day period using the serial interval for SARS-CoV-2.

Findings: Here, we provide an update on the R0 as cases emerge globally. The SARS-COV-2 outbreak outside of China have grown exponentially with an estimated R0 of 1·98(95% CI:1·83-2·13). Most countries where local outbreaks are ongoing have an R0 above the global average. However, several regions have been successful in mitigating the spread of SARS-CoV-2 by reducing the R0 . The Republic of South Korea was able to significantly reduce the R0 from 3·41(95% CI:3·10-3·70) to 0·73(95% CI:0·47-1·00) after the peak of the outbreak.

Interpretation: Taken together, these R0 values indicate that different public health policies can alter the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2. Health authorities that responded early and decisively have reduced SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility. However, for other countries the fight against SARS-CoV-2 is an ongoing conflict.

Funding Statement: AMB is supported by a graduate scholarship from the Ministry of Education Tier 3 grant and EEO is supported by the Clinician-Scientist Award from the National Medical Research Council, Singapore.

Declaration of Interests: None.

Keywords: basic reproductive number; R0; SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19

Suggested Citation

Bifani, Amanda Makha and Ooi, Eng Eong, Estimating the R 0 of SARS-CoV-2 in Different Health Systems: An Update on Transmissibility at the Country Level (3/24/2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3562449 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3562449

Amanda Makha Bifani

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases ( email )

8 College Road
Singapore

Eng Eong Ooi (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme ( email )

Singapore

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